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  04/02/2012: Morning Coffee with... Ben
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As the January transfer window opened, Lazio fans were unsurprisingly very curious as to who may arrive. Rumours started to surface in early December, as numerous names were linked with a possible move to Rome.

Up until deadline day, the Biancoceleste had only sealed a deal for Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro. Giuseppe Sculli had returned to former club Genoa and with key figures still side lined through injury, it was clear Lazio needed reinforcements.
Edy Reja stated in a press conference that he had asked for a midfielder and another striker to add to his precariously thin squad. The request was not unexpected when it was clear the Biancoceleste were lacking in depth.

Whilst Sporting Director Igli Tare went to work, fans waited anxiously as to who may sign. A deal for CSKA Moscow’s Keisuke Honda was thought to have been done but it was not to be, and to everybody’s surprise the move broke down.
Tare then turned his attention to Villarreal frontman Nilmar, who was said to be interested in a move to the Capital. But as time ticked away, it seemed impossible to strike a deal with the Brazilian. It appeared Lazio had set their sights on Honda, without having any sort of backup plan in place should the two clubs fail to agree terms.

As the end of deadline day approached it seemed as though more and more of the rumours were nothing more than just that. Instead, Lazio had waved ‘arrivederci’ to summer signing Djibril Cisse who moved to QPR, and numerous fringe players including Simone Del Nero (loan to Cesena) and reserve goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizzo (offloaded to Catania).

Finally, Lazio managed to secure the services of Parma midfield man, Antonio Candreva. Not what everybody was expecting, and especially not considering the twenty-four year old is a lifelong AS Roma fan. It is unknown how many players Tare was in talks with, but surely with better preparation Lazio could have sealed moves for some key players to join the club.

The transfer market is a pivotal point in each clubs’ season. You have the first half of the campaign to identify where you need to strengthen, ready for the second half. With Reja’s squad currently riddled with injuries, new faces were crucial. With Alfaro on the side lines, recent transfer activity has left the tactician with just two strikers to pick from in Tommaso Rocchi and Miroslav Klose.

Some sympathy must go out to Reja as seven players left the club and only two arrived. Before the transfer window opened, it was evident that Lazio’s squad was already stretched to breaking point, and the fans certainly expected players to arrive if the club harboured ambitions for a Champions league place. Instead the faithful were incensed as to the club’s conduct throughout this period of transfer activity.

Could this be nail in the coffin for Lazio’s season? After a hugely disappointing window, finishing higher than last year’s fifth place could be challenging. For President Claudio Lotito to appease the fans he will have to spend big in the summer. It is evident that funds are available considering they were close to securing a 14 million euro move for Keisuke Honda and the 5 million euros generated from the sale of Djibril Cisse. The cash for a spending spree in the next window appears to have been already generated.

Although time was against the Biancoceleste on deadline day, Lotito and Tare only have themselves to blame. Perhaps the coach will continue his path to a top three finish with the players he has got, but until the players that are on Lazio’s casualty list start to return it leaves Reja with a major task on his hands, from now until the end of the season.

(Ben Lally)
www.forzaitalianfootball.com
 
 
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